Does being a member of the Knights of Columbus disqualify you from public office? Some Senate Democrats think so. Senator Mazie Hirono called the largest fraternal Catholic service organization in the world an “extremist group,” and insisted that a Nebraskan judicial nominee revoke his membership.
Think that sounds outrageous? So did Senator Ben Sasse:
GOP Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska introduced a Senate resolution Wednesday providing that it is unconstitutional to disqualify a nominee from public office based on their membership in the Knights of Columbus.
The resolution, which The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained in advance of its introduction, comes after Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Kamala Harris of California pressed a judicial nominee to the federal trial court in Nebraska about his affiliation with the Knights, a Catholic mutual benefit society with almost 2 million members worldwide.
Sasse’s resolution was adopted without opposition just after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, following a floor speech in which the senator extolled the importance of religious liberty.
“There are many people on the left who act like every political fight is going to bring about heaven or hell on earth—and so there are a lot of folks for whom politics is a religion,” Sasse told The Daily Caller News Foundation after the resolution was adopted. “I think America at its best has affirmed the dignity of every individual and their right to free speech, free press, and freedom of worship.” …
“It is the sense of the Senate that disqualifying a nominee to federal office on the basis of membership in the Knights of Columbus violates the Constitution of the United States,” the resolution reads.
Article VI of the Constitution forbids the imposition of a religious test on prospective officeholders.